Keyword Brainstorming for SEO

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When beginning a new SEO campaign it is always a good idea to start with a keyword brainstorming session. Keywords (also called key phrases or key terms) are the short, descriptive phrases that you want to be found for in the search engines.

Why Are Keywords Important

Ask any professional SEO what the most important aspect of any search engine optimization campaign is, and I can almost guarantee they will tell you “keyword choice!” It is very important that we use the keyword brainstorming process to select the best keywords for your SEO campaign.

The keywords you select now will most likely be the main focus of your entire search engine optimization campaign. If you do your due diligence and put in the right amount of time and research when choosing your keywords, you’re likely to be rewarded with:

  • Higher Rankings
  • More Site Traffic
  • A More Well-Optimized Site
  • More Overall Relevance to Your Target Market
  • More Click-Throughs
  • More Conversions

Keyword Brainstorming

The keyword brainstorming process will involve pulling together several different factors, as well as several different modes of thinking. We will discuss 6 jumping-off points that will help you come up with a robust list of keywords for your SEO campaign.

#1.The Key to Keywords

Think as a searcher would think…

Take the opportunity to put yourself in a searchers shoes. Think about who your target audience is and what services they might be looking for.

Now, pretend you are the that person and you are sitting at the search engine. What would you type in the search box?

#2. Who Are You & What Do You Offer?

This is the time to come up with a comprehensive list of your products, services, and/or information about what you offer. Be sure to include generic descriptions of your products and services, as well as very-specific products and services.

For example, let’s say you run an ice cream shop. You obviously want to show up for “ice cream”, however you will also want to show up for “Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Mint” which is one of your specialty brands. All instances like this should go into your keyword list.

#3. What Need Do You Fill?

Don’t just think about the products or services you offer, think about what search may potentially want or need.

For example, if you sell home alarm systems, you may want to include “protect my home” or “burglary prevention” in your keyword list.

#4. Are You Seasonal?

Do your products and services change from season to season? Do you offer seasonal specials or discounts? Think through the whole year and try to come up with any keywords that may be of a seasonal nature.

For example, let’s say you’re a flower shop. You may want to include “Valentine’s Day Flowers” or “Mother’s Day Flowers” in your keyword list.

#5. Misspellings, Alternate Spellings & Slang

This is something that the business owner will likely have a better idea of than the SEO geek. Again, try to put yourself in the searcher’s shoes and think of everyway in which your products and service may be spelled, as well as any slang terms for your product.

For example, if you were a part of the Beanie Baby craze in the late 90’s you may have search for “beanie baby” or “beany baby.”

A common example of slang would be in the soft drink industry, where people in some regions call it “soda” and people in other regions refer to it as “pop.”

#6. Think Local!

This is especially important if you operate a brick-and-mortar location. This has become especially prevalent in recent years with the emergence of local search & the increase in geo-targeted searches. You may want to include keywords that give your list geo-indicators like “pizza dublin oh” or “physical therapist seattle washington.”

For example, if your business only does business in New York, then it isn’t going to be very beneficial to waste your time on a searcher in Florida.

Also, be sure to include abbreviations as well as full state names. Search engines can be a little dumb, so they may not realize that “PA” also means “Pennsylvania.”

The moral of the story is, think of everything and leave out nothing in your initial keyword brainstorming sessions.

Photo Credit: Jacob Botter on Flickr

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